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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Presidential Trivia: The 2016 Election is Coming (Possible Interactive Notebook Activity)

What do you know about some of our previous Presidents?

  1. Dogs, cats, and birds  have often found a home in the White House. There have also been some unique pets such as John Quincy Adams’ pet alligator, Martin Van Buren two tiger cubs, and James Buchanan’s elephant. Calvin Coolidge had a wallaby and a pygmy hippo and Theodore Roosevelt had a lion, hyena, five bears, a piebald rat, and a zebra. Only Presidents Arthur, Fillmore, and Pierce had no pets.
  2. President George Washington was an avid spelunker, enjoying exploring caves.
  3. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only president to be elected four times. The Constitution was later changed to allow only two four-year terms.
  4. President Theodore Roosevelt named the Executive Mansion or President’s House, the White House.
  5. Only President George Washington did not live in the White House. It was opened in 1800.
  6. The Star-Spangled Banner became the national anthem under President Herbert Hoover.
  7. President William Henry Harrison only served one month after taking the oath of office, dying from pneumonia.
  8. President Van Buren is said to have started the expression "OK", signing papers with his “Old Kinderhook” nickname.
  9. Left-handed President James Garfield  could write with both hands at the same time and in different languages such as Greek and Latin.
  10. President John K. Kennedy was the first president who had been a boy scout in his youth.
  11. President George W. Bush was appointed president in 2000 by the Supreme Court after the election results gave him more electoral votes, but his opponent Al Gore won the popular vote. John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison also won the presidency without the majority of the votes.
  12. The teddy bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt.
  13. President Richard Nixon was the first president to resign his presidency over a scandal called Watergate.
  14. President William Howard Taft became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after leaving the White House, saying he preferred this job to that of being President of the United States.
  15. Gerald Ford was the only president of the United States to not be elected by the people. He was appointed vice president by President Nixon and later assumed the presidency when Nixon resigned.
  16. President John Quincy Adams liked to swim naked in the Potomac River . . . in the early morning.

Click here for the user-friendly version to give out to your students.

Extension Activities

  1. Try this free Webquest on the Presidents of the United States.
  2. Pretend you are the President of the United States. Write a diary entry about a day in your life. Who did you meet in the Oval Office? What issues did you address? Etc.
  3. Which president would you like to meet and why? What would you ask of this president?
  4. What are FOUR characteristics you feel that someone who is president should possess? Why are these characteristics important?
  5. Illustrate the factoids about the presidents. Write a caption to go with your illustration.

Additional Resources

You may wish to check out these resources: